Through a Jungian Lens

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Finding Hope in a World Stuck in a Vacuum

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Holding seeds that hold new life

I have always been drawn to feathery scenes involving nature, a face of nature that is gentle in comparison to the pounding waves of a rough surf. There is a sense of peacefulness, a sense of sleeping and dreaming. But the image also points to death as well as rebirth; both co-exist.

I am currently upset with some of the politics of the world, especially the politics of my home country where soul seems to have died leaving a vacuum, a long pause in limbo before there is a renewal of soul. I was grateful to find these words in James Hollis’ book which helped me frame the current situation in the world.

“Where once a peasant could look forward to the towers of the medieval cathedral embodying sacred authority, or the castle expressing secular authority, now the powers of miter and mace are exhausted, replaced by the authority of the state and populist ideologies, fads and fevers – all of which are haunted by a mythological vacuum. The beatific vision is converted to an early retirement on the Sun Coast, the Madonna of Chartres is replaced by the Madonna of MTV, and salvation is found through Halcion, angel dust and the form of crack cocaine called Ecstasy.” (Hollis, Tracking the Gods, p. 25)

One could easily now suggest that the power of mace that was replaced by the state has now been replaced by the corporate entity and the economy. The mitre has shifted more and more to an ever-expanding burst of churches, New Age philosophies and practices and fundamentalist and repressive theologies, as well as drugs, virtual reality and every sort of addiction and fanaticism one could ever imagine.

This is all so depressing. Thankfully this image reminds me that in the deepest part of the winter, in the bleakest part of the human psyche, there is rebirth, the renewed promise of light, of hope, of animation in which the human soul is recovered.


4 Responses

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  1. Ah, yes! My favorite author again. I have wished, quite often, that I had read this book when I was first becoming a parent of my two guys. After reading his book as well as a couple by Joseph Campbell, I realized how important mythology is to growing up and learning how to deal with life.

    It is sad, indeed, that there are no more rites of passage, thereby leaving the up and coming generations, dazed and confused as they try to figure out what it means to be and adult.


    February 29, 2012 at 6:28 am

    • I think we get to read what we need to read when the time is ripe. Otherwise, we read and miss the message that waits for us. Thank you Paul.


      February 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm

  2. I share your dismay with the current loss of soul in politics as well as pop culture and also find solace in the natural cycles of life. I have to keep reminding myself that in the life of the psyche, healthy evolutionary change and increased consciousness are always preceded by times of chaos and darkness. Surely few centuries in history were darker than the last one with its world wars, nuclear weapons, racial “cleansings,” etc. This, plus the evidence of growing respect for diversity and human rights on a global scale gives me hope that new life and light are on their way.

    Jean Raffa

    March 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    • Both our countries are poorer for the loss of soul in politics. Sad. But, as you rightly point out, out of the ashes will arise a collective more conscious than what we experience now. The worry is that transformation requires the ashes of alchemical transformation, something that seems too much like revolution with violence to me given the attitudes of our leadership and the apathy of our citizenry.


      March 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

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